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Friday, February 15, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-15-2019

Washington Times, February 15, 1919:

Joe Jackson and “Swede” Risberg for Bobby Veach, Donie Bush and Harry Heilman is the latest heard in “the Loop.”

Bush, according to the story, is dissatisfied with conditions in Detroit, and welcomes a change. Furthermore, the Tigers’ shortstop is a veteran, and Hughey Jennings has taken quite a fancy to Risberg.

Jackson has not communicated with the Chicago club. He has taken sadly to heart the columns of criticism hurled at him all around the country, and will hardly care to play [in Chicago] again.

Joe, I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news. The bad news is that you’re going to be a White Sock for the rest of your career. The good news is that you won’t be have to be a White Sock for very long.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 15, 2019 at 09:48 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-14-2019

Pittsburgh Press, February 14, 1919:

Clark Griffith of the Senators says he would have “Babe” Ruth on first base every day in the week if “Babe” were with the Washington club, writing to a baseball friend [in Boston]. Griffith declares that he can’t see Ruth at all as a pitcher or as an outfielder.
“As a pitcher, Ruth is a joke. I know all about his record, too, when I say this. I could go up and get two hits off him in every game he pitched against me; that’s what I think of his pitching. As an outfielder, Ruth is not good. As a hitter—oh, lady, lady, he’s a wonder.

Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.

Elsewhere on the same page of the Press, umpire Billy Evans talks about Yankees outfielder George Halas: He’s fast and has a great arm. That article is mostly illegible, but Halas seems like the sort of guy who might be good at football.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 14, 2019 at 09:47 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-13-2019

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, February 13, 1919:

The $900,000 damage suit which was brought against organized baseball several seasons ago by the Baltimore Federal League club has again bobbed up, and President John A. Heydler of the National League…announced that the case would be heard on March 10. The action is brought under the Sherman anti-trust law.
Not only the major leagues are defendants in the action, but also the Wards of Brooklyn, Harry Sinclair, who owned the Newark Club in the outlaw league, and Edward W. Gwinner of Pittsburgh. In the settlement of the baseball war these three club owners were compensated, while Phil Ball…became the owner of the St. Louis Browns, and Charles F. W. Weeghman and his Chicago associates bought the Chicago Cubs. All those men are also defendants in the action.

In completely unrelated news, quite a few major league owners are beginning to think about having a one-man National Commission.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 13, 2019 at 09:57 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-12-2019

John McGraw talks about pitcher Bugs Raymond in the Harrisburg Telegraph, February 12, 1919:

“I had a record of Raymond’s night out, and sent it to [Giants owner John] Brush, along with Raymond. This record showed ‘Bugs’ had swallowed forty-two beers and seven green onions. Mr. Brush cross-examined Raymond, and after a long time he finally admitted that he might have sipped the beers, but he was sure he had nothing to do with the onions.
Once we were playing a tight game with the Pirates…I gave Raymond a brand new ball and sent him to the warming pit to use if necessary…I found out too late that Raymond had run out of the Polo Grounds, sold the new ball for half a dollar, bought as many drinks as he could, and came back to lose that game. There never was a troublemaker like him.”

Some of the stories may be amusing, but Bugs Raymond’s life was tragic. He drank himself out of baseball and died a year later at age 30. Bugs had been beaten in the head with a baseball bat, suffered a fractured skull, and had a cerebral hemorrhage as a result.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 12, 2019 at 10:25 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, February 11, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-11-2019

Washington Herald, February 11, 1919:

Babe Ruth, Red Sox star, championed the cause of a number of women and squelched a group of rowdies who were annoying them at a local dance Saturday night.

Ruth was present with Mrs. Ruth. The baseball giant bided his time, waiting for some one in authority to halt the rough tactics, but when no one did, he acted. A short snappy talk about “throwing them through the door” caused them to quiet down and leave the gathering…When Ruth came [outside] he expressed his willingness to let them have some and prepared to serve it out. Then the troubleshooters grew tense again and decided that hostilities didn’t look very good to them after all. Ruth handed them some more stinging rebukes and they disappeared.

I imagine an angry Babe Ruth would have been an intimidating dude.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 11, 2019 at 10:12 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, February 08, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-8-2019

Toledo News-Bee, February 8, 1919:

Buck Weaver points out that as he has a better fielding and batting average than Eddie Collins, who gets $15,000 a year from the White Sox, he’s entitled to a $2000 increase. Buck may be a better hitter and fielder, but Eddie has a million average in coaxing skill.

It takes a remarkable amount of chutzpah for a good but not great player to demand a raise because he’s better than Eddie Collins. If it really went down that way, it couldn’t have gone over well in the clubhouse.

He didn’t get the $2,000 raise, but Buck did negotiate a deal to become the second-highest paid White Sock. Collins still made more than Weaver because Charlie Comiskey was no dummy.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 08, 2019 at 09:56 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, February 07, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-7-2019

Jackson County [North Carolina] Journal, February 7, 1919:

[Cubs manager] Fred Mitchell wants the majors to make a rule abolishing an out on a foul fly.
The franchises of the Washington and St. Louis clubs haven’t been transferred in several days now.
Branch Rickey will probably drop his job as president of the Cards to become manager next season. Hendricks is slated to get the gate.
Sunday baseball will probably be made legal in New York state at the coming session of the legislature. Governor-elect Smith favors the plan.

Al Smith for president!

Elsewhere, the New York Evening World reports that the state legislature is considering a bill that would, in part, legalize fishing on Sundays. The number of things people weren’t allowed to do on Sunday never ceases to amaze me.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 07, 2019 at 09:51 AM | 58 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-6-2019

Hugh Fullerton on gambling in baseball, via the New York Evening World, February 6, 1919:

Not one case has been proved—the wrong thing, in my mind, has been that not one case ever has been thoroughly investigated or followed up. Even the famous case in which a New York hanger-on of the Giants was charged with trying to bribe an umpire was never exposed.

It is strange that these men with fortunes invested in baseball should take the attitude that it is “for the good of the game” to suppress all such cases, to deny, to whitewash and to keep them quiet. To men in any other business the absolute proof of the honesty of any enterprise would be that the moment a man was suspected of dishonesty he should be tried and, if guilty, expelled utterly.

Gambling is getting to be a tremendous menace to major league baseball.

This guy gets it.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 06, 2019 at 10:25 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-5-2019

New York Evening World, February 5, 1919:


Cincinnati Club’s Charges That He Bet Against His Own Team Are Groundless.

Hal Chase, the first baseman, has been cleared of the gambling charges brought against him last season by the Cincinnati Club. After considering the evidence for a week John Heydler, President of the National League, announced the not guilty verdict this afternoon.

Thankfully, all this talk of gambling and fixed games is now behind us for good.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 05, 2019 at 10:52 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, February 04, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-4-2019

Harrisburg Telegraph, February 4, 1919:

What Are They Trying to Do, Hush Up Hal Chase Scandal?

Talk about George Creel, as a censor of news! How about these baseball magnates who had Hal Chase up for trial and are soon to give a decision, but have told the public nothing. The Chase hearing deserves full publicity, for baseball has never had but one gambling scandal before and this stuff much not get into the national pastime, or it will lose the support of the generous public. When a ball player of Chase’s caliber is accused with tampering with ball games there must be no hushing it up.

Nah, it’ll be fine. Don’t worry about it. What’s the worst that could happen?

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 04, 2019 at 10:13 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, February 01, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-1-2019

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, February 1, 1919:

Heinie Zimmerman, the doughty third baseman, dropped into the Giants’ office yesterday to show he was all ready to take up the task of covering the stuffed canvas. The “Great Zim” appeared to be in first-class physical condition.

As to the story he wasn’t going to be flitting around his old station, Heinie wouldn’t discuss it. “All I gotta say,” remarked Zim, “is that it won’t be healthy for any other guy to plant himself permanently at that bag. This is no threat,” he concluded, “but he’d better wear shinguards.”

That sounds like a threat. Zim started 123 games at third base for the 1919 Giants, but it’s a good thing they didn’t trade their backup. Zimmerman admitted to throwing games late in the season and that was the end of his career.

By the way, the backup third baseman was a 21-year-old kid named Frankie Frisch.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 01, 2019 at 10:14 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-31-2019

Pittsburgh Press, January 31, 1919:

Happy Felsch will not play ball in Chicago this year unless he gets $1,700 back pay which he claims is due him, according to his best and closest local confidant, Jake Litza, manager of a team in the Lake Shore league.

Litza has been with Felsch on a hunting trip, and says he knows that Felsch will not come to Chicago unless he gets the money that he claims is due…“Happy claims this money is due him from the time he left the club until the last of the season,” said Litza.

Well, I see no way this could possibly end badly.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 31, 2019 at 09:56 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: black sox, dugout, history

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-29-2019

New York Sun, January 29, 1919:

John Heydler, president of the National League, yesterday gave his reasons for holding the [Hal] Chase hearing in private to-morrow morning instead of yielding to the practically unanimous demand for a public trial for the great first baseman. Heydler says that while he recognizes the widespread feeling that the hearing should be held in the open, still he believed it is for the best interests of the sport that the case should be tried behind closed doors.
“If the press was admitted to the hearing it might only lead to a lot of confusion,” said Heydler. “It is a certainty that every reporter there would try to judge the case in his own mind and various men may take different views from the evidence presented…Then if I rendered a decision contrary to [the writers’ and fans’] viewpoint it would only start fresh wrangles and prove injurious to baseball.

Seems like a roundabout way to say it would be better if everybody forgot about this whole fixed games thing. Which…well, they don’t.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 29, 2019 at 10:11 AM | 76 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, January 28, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-28-2019

Toledo News-Bee, January 28, 1919:

Patrons of the Milwaukee club of the American Association conducted a successful campaign to rename the “Brewers,” now that the manufacture of beer, Milwaukee’s leading industry, has practically been buried. The team has been called the “Brewers” since joining the association. The Panthers is the new name selected for the club.

My first reaction when I saw this was that it made sense because UW-Milwaukee’s athletic teams are known as the Panthers. That’s not why they chose Panthers, though, because UWM didn’t become the Panthers until the 1960s. So I dunno.

Elsewhere in American Association news, Toledo owner Roger Bresnahan is holding up the release of the schedule because he objects to a season-opening 28-game homestand. Having spent a reasonable chunk of time living in Northwest Ohio, I can confirm that “outdoors, in Toledo, in April” is not necessarily a place people want to spend money to be.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 28, 2019 at 10:31 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, January 25, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-25-2019

New York Sun, January 25, 2019:

The refusal of Ban Johnson and John Heydler to sign an apparently harmless agreement with the minor leagues, after it had been signed by August Herrmann, chairman of the National Commission, has aroused much suspicion along the minor league trail. Minor league club owners as well as newspaper men in minor league cities are asking why the big leagues refuse to put in writing what they verbally had promised.
John Heydler, president of the National League, yesterday replied that he “saw no need for such a tentative agreement, and believed any discussion on the issue should be over a permanent one.”

Heydler also said he did not recognize at this time any connection with the minor leagues.

That escalated quickly.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 25, 2019 at 10:43 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-24-2019

Washington Herald, January 24, 1919:

Baseball insiders said yesterday afternoon that after hearing the alleged evidence against Hal Chase next week President Heydler, of the National League will exonerate the noted first baseman. It is reported that the charges of sharp practice lodged against Chase will not be sustained by legal proof and that the player will be declared a free agent. In that event Chase may be signed by the Giants.

I have a feeling that reading the sports pages of 1919 is going to be like watching a trainwreck in slow motion. I know what’s going to happen and I can see the various parts of the disaster moving into place, but all I can do is watch and wince.

In other news, Ty Cobb says it can be distracting to hit against the Yankees because catcher Truck Hannah will not stop talking to him.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 24, 2019 at 10:36 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-23-2019

El Paso Herald, January 23, 1919:

Oscar “Happy” Felsch sent word to his friends [in Chicago] yesterday from his home in Milwaukee that he had decided to return to the Chicago American league team this season. Felsch, without warning, in the middle of last season left the team and went to work for a gas company in Milwaukee. He is said to have patched up his differences with President Comiskey.

For now, anyway.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 23, 2019 at 10:24 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-22-2019

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, January 22, 1919:

Big leaguers who object to cut-rate baseball have a swell alibi now that the Delaware County League has resumed business at the old stand. The signing of Frank Baker—if he really has signed the papers—will stimulate contract jumping, and if an effort is made to grab a few more stars some managers under the big top will have to raise the ante. It is reported that Perry, Munch and Jamieson, of the Athletics, have been spoken to by Manager Miller, of Upland, and others, including Billy Southworth, of Pittsburgh, and Babe Ruth, of the Red Sox, have listened to propositions.

If they had pulled this off, the 1919 Delaware County League might have had a better case as a major league than the 1884 Union Association. They didn’t, though; all of the listed players were in organized baseball in 1919. Baker even led the American League with 141 appearances, which is particularly impressive for a one-team player in a season with 140 scheduled games.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 22, 2019 at 10:11 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, January 21, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-21-2019

Pittsburgh Press, January 21, 1919:

Babe Ruth, the star southpaw of the Boston Redsox, was looked upon today as the next big leaguer to leave organized baseball for a berth with the Upland team of the Delaware County league. Upland team representatives have gone to confer with Ruth.

Home Run Baker spent the entire 1915 season playing for Upland after a salary dispute with the Athletics. I need to read more about the Delaware County League - it’s bizarre to me that independent teams in suburban Philadelphia were in a financial position to bid for the biggest stars in baseball.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 21, 2019 at 10:05 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, January 18, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-18-2019

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, January 18, 1919:

The National League [yesterday] decided it did not want to be classed as a minor league. As a result it rescinded the action taken Wednesday in declaring a salary limit of $11,000 [per month]. In place of that minor leaguers figure it adopted one much higher. Just how high was not announced, but is said to be perfectly satisfactory to New York and Chicago, which had protested against the adoption of the $11,000 a month salary limit.

The salary cap lasted approximately two days.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 18, 2019 at 09:52 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-17-2019

New York Tribune, January 17, 1919:

The forces of democracy as represented by the minor leagues of baseball won a sensational victory in the waning hours of the long-winded session of the rulers of the national game at the Biltmore yesterday…toward midnight came the big sensation with the announcement that the majors had surrendered and granted practically everything the minors had demanded.
It took a long time for the big fellows to get together on this democratic proposition, which in brief means that the National Commission will continue to direct the affairs of the major leagues, whereas the National Association of Professional Ball Clubs, or in short terms the minors, will have the undisputed control of their own affairs.
If the majors wish to buy a promising minor league player they [now] must purchase their man outright [instead of having the option to draft him].

The minor leagues had been angry for years that the National Commission (which was essentially just AL and NL leadership) had the last word in any kind of disagreement. They had also been trying to eliminate the draft, by which big league clubs could pluck players from the minors at a set price regardless of the wishes of the smaller clubs.

The other big news story to come out of this baseball confab was that the American League had no intention to implement a salary cap to match the NL’s self-imposed $11,000 monthly limit. One day into the salary cap era, the cracks were already beginning to show.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 17, 2019 at 10:15 AM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-16-2019

New York Sun, January 16, 1919:

Eleven thousand dollars a month for each club! That was the players’ salary limit for next season adopted by the National League at its meeting in the Waldorf-Astoria yesterday afternoon. The sum named is not to include the manager’s salary. The league’s announcement of this radical legislation immediately set baseball circles agog, and it is expected to develop an upheaval that is likely to include the biggest players’ strike in the history of the game.
This is the first time in major league history that a club salary limit has been adopted.

Somewhere in Milwaukee, Bud Selig’s father is jumping for joy. (I looked it up: He’d have been in his late teens in January 1919, probably in high school, maybe a student at Marquette.)

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 16, 2019 at 10:16 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, January 14, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-14-2019

Washington Times, January 14, 1919:

Lieut. Lloyd Waite, formerly a Pirate, now an officer in France, says that the German troops know a lot more about baseball than generally is supposed. On several occasions, when American soldiers were playing games in dangerously exposed positions, Germans within good firing distance not only let them alone, but stood up in their trenches and hooted derisively when anybody made a fielding error, struck out, or boneheaded on a play.

It’s pretty unnerving when angry people with guns are yelling “Du bist ein Fünf!” at you while you’re trying to play defense.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 14, 2019 at 10:14 AM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, January 11, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-11-2019

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, January 11, 1919:

An effort will be made to have Thirdbaseman Dug [sic] Baird of the St. Louis National League club play at Vandergrift [Pennsylvania] next summer. Jimmy Beeson, who is to manage the team in the Westmoreland county town, said yesterday he already is in negotiations with Baird, and he has reasons to believe he will wean him away from the major league. Beeson shares the belief with Baird that St. Louis will try to mete out some sort of punishment to him for jumping last summer to work at the Allegheny Steel and play on its team when the work or fight order went into effect.

I’m pretty sure this is the weirdest player movement rumor I’ve ever come across. A small-town independent semi-pro team thinks the starting third baseman from the St. Louis Cardinals will quit the big leagues and play for them instead.

It didn’t happen, as you might expect. The Cardinals, who may or may not have been mad at Baird for bailing on the team in 1918, traded him to Philadelphia ten days after this article appeared in the newspaper. And then in July, the Phillies traded Baird to…the Cardinals, who waived him in August. So maybe they really didn’t want him. Anyway, Baird was out of the majors by the end of 1920, but played professionally in non-Vandergrift cities like Indianapolis, Columbus, and Birmingham into the late 1920s.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 11, 2019 at 10:27 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-10-2019

Pittsburgh Press, January 10, 1919:

Many people are of the opinion that the adoption of the prohibition amendment by enough states to make the country entirely dry will have a helpful effect on baseball, and cause the national pastime to boom.
[Reds business manager Frank Bancroft:] “I can see where thousands of people will now change their daily route and go to the ball park. The suburban garden and saloon have taken thousands of people away from baseball—and now we’ll get them back again.”
[AL President Ban Johnson:] “I should put the increase in baseball attendance, due to bone dry laws, at from 10 to 15 per cent next summer,” said he, “Cities like Cincinnati and Chicago will be specially benefited.”
[NL President John Heydler:] “Whether we are for or against the dry wave, it is going to boost the game.”

Attendance was up dramatically in 1919, but it’s tough to figure out how much of it was the end of the war and how much was prohibition. My completely uninformed, pulled out of the air with no supporting evidence guess is that it was maybe 85% the end of World War I and 15% prohibition.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 10, 2019 at 10:02 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

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